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Had myself a good cry last night.
An ugly one. Trying to figure out life. Trying to perfect the art of simply being human, which is actually the art of being imperfectly human (and dealing with it). Wondering why I’m spiritless these days, yet still looking to sell you on the idea that I’m happy, adjusted, and inspired enough to “write it all down.”
My heavy heart, laden and aching, I found no mercy or reprieve from my melancholy feelings. And so, I cried. I cried long and hard. The kind of crying that stuffed my nose and gave me a goddamn, pounding headache. A cathartic release that proved I am not made of stone and can still “feel” every inch of my humanness, and yours too, for that matter. Here and now, in the middle, I feel weary and a little lost.
This is not depression. I know the difference. It’s a precursor, however. So, I must be careful. And I must go quietly inward once again, where healing begins.
Truth is, sometimes we lose love. Sometimes we can’t quite cross the finish line when it comes to our goals or our dreams. There is some mystical ideal we can’t seem to reach. Or, we let slip away something that made us feel happy and complete because we didn’t nurture it. We didn’t treat it like the fragile egg it truly was. We realize quickly how much we took it for granted.
A pet. A person. A passing moment. A parent.
When we misplace our opportunities, or abandon our hopes, there’s no going back. There’s only looking back. When “things” are no longer growing or fluid, they fall behind. We have moved too far forward, away from them, and their essence is simply gone. Lively life. Creative passion. Wonder. Something great that ignites a hot spark of anticipation, an adrenaline rush that flows through our veins upon waking each morning. Fuel for the feeling that something new and exciting is about to happen. I am desperately trying to not look back in anger or sorrow, but the older I become, the harder it gets to reconcile my regrets and inaction. I always think my practice of “living presently” today will help stave off my maudlin feelings for “yesterday,” but I am oh so very wrong.
In a sense, things are much calmer now. In my 50s, I’m not as reckless or pursuant. I don’t “want” quite as much because I know the level of giving and sacrifice required to obtain or achieve it, and quite frankly, it’s easier to not dedicate my time. Time is, indeed, precious, and everything is temporary, especially the rush we glean from our achievements. I feel time marching on more acutely now, here in the middle place. It is steady but decidedly not slow.
I didn’t feel it in my 20s, when I was prancing around from party to party in my holey, acid-washed jeans, that’s for sure. My 30s were painful in a way that produces personal growth, but boy were those years wasted. My 40s were a time of discovery, way more energy, and newfound, “empty nest” freedom. But now? Now it feels as though there are very few surprises left. Maybe that’s what’s bothering me the most: the daily lack of expected delight in the extraordinary, or better yet, unexpected surprise in the ordinary.
Here in the middle, I’m carrying around a heavy brick called “been there done that,” and I can’t seem to lay it down. Everything on the menu looks and tastes the same. I’ve shown you my heart, my universe, and I’ve peeked inside your life too. I’ve seen proof of what appears to be happy, inspired living, complete with outfit changes, smiling selfies, and celebrations; however, I just can’t seem to muster the energy to authentically project my own anymore. But, lord I try.
And so I had myself a good old-fashioned cry. I cried for my pathetic little “can’t get it together” self. I cried for you and your woes—the ones you talk about and the ones you leave out. I cried for my friend who is experiencing unearthly heartache. I wept for the one who is hanging by a thread, and the one who just lost her mom. I worried for the one dealing with a serious health issue. I shed tears for the one battling her family. And yet another, who just lost his cherished, four-legged friend. I cried for Johnny F*cking Depp and Amber Heard and dysfunctional, unhappy couples everywhere. I sobbed for our messed up world, and my country, which, for all of its advantages and advances can’t seem to choose love, acceptance, and equality over hatred, exclusion, and regression. Honestly, I cried for all of us. I really let my pillow have it. And then, I fell asleep exhausted.
Perhaps this is part of what “mid-50s” is supposed to feel like. Perhaps I’m supposed to feel more mellow, bored, and jaded, but if that’s the case, it sure isn’t fun to digest. And the pro-biotics don’t seem to be helping.
I’ve entered the middle place. “Before” and “after” reside here. I don’t feel old, but I’m certainly not young anymore. I have wrinkles, but with some trickery they can be concealed. I’m not hoofing marathons, but I can hike 10 miles on a good day. I have some hobbies, but I lack true, wild adventure. I’m “happy” because I have so much, but I yearn for something else. My “pathetic little can’t get it together self” is the perfect descriptor, no?
My sweet cousin was hit by a car in California. She is, as they say, “fine” but it required extensive foot surgery and now many months of rehab. Lots of reclining and elevating. It was a close call, and while she’s grateful and feels “lucky,” she is now “stuck” just sitting around, watching her beautiful garden birds and healing.
But, I ask you: aren’t we all a little stuck, in a way, just sitting around, watching the birds and healing?
Which is why sometimes, inside the middle place, we just need a good cry.
Let yourself feel it.